The IMPACT of a Handwritten Thank-You Note

A few months back, I made a note-to-self, to personalize a thank-you memo or two for a few key contributors at the health center I lead. As a member of the Go-Giver speaker and coach community, this has always been one of the recommended means of showing gratitude however I had yet to actually do it.

Then on a Friday afternoon in late October, I decided to just purchase a bunch of thank-you notes, and send them out to all employees before the December holidays. I figured I could do a few a week on the way to hitting my goal of distributing 125 or so by our holiday gathering on December 9.

My initial thought was geared toward showing my thanks and appreciation for the folks that had helped make 2015 the most successful year on record for Johnson Health Center. However, there was much more to this endeavor than I had planned – a revolutionary ah-ha moment for the guy writing the notes.

I have always been a proponent of educating organizations in the area of emotional intelligence. An emotionally intelligent leader understands and recognizes the need for healthy relationships that foster authentic communication. One of the most important tools in the toolbox of genuine connection and solid relationships is the ability to express gratitude.

A leader who consistently acknowledges the people who make what we do possible, and affirms their worth to the success of the team as a whole, is building a culture of success and growth.

There are many ways to express thanks with the hope that this display of gratitude impacts everyone! I am convinced now more than ever, that writing a personal note brings more value to everyone, including the one writing the note.

Why a handwritten note? Because expressing gratitude is about making it personal! Every individual has a unique style of writing that is exclusive to only their style.  Writing signifies intentionality and requires forethought, and has meaning for the writer and the recipient.

A key to a successful handwritten thank you is to think through the intended message before putting pen to paper. This gives the writer the opportunity to reflect on how they feel, and what it means to be grateful for the work of another person.

The recipient of the note hears the message, sees the intentionality, and responds with a grateful attitude. Like a tidal wave crashing upon the shore, the attitude of appreciation is reciprocated in the recipient, and pushed out on those around them.

As I finished the last of my thank-you notes to the staff, the revolutionary ah-ha moment for me was how it made me feel. Writing each of those notes was like reconnecting with each person all over again and recognizing how much they mean to not only the organization, but to me personally. I don’t work with most of these people on a day-to-day basis anymore, but writing each of the notes allowed me back in their lives and that made it personal for me.

So take this opportunity and do something for yourself while acknowledging others, write a few thoughtful appreciation notes to those that have impacted you! I can assure you, the feeling you get when you authentically thank people for what they have helped you with over the year is exhilarating and worth every word.

Make it an “Impactful” holiday season!